Export Control and Sponsored Research

U.S. export control laws and regulations exist to maintain national security and protect U.S. economic vitality. These regulations control the shipment of both tangible items and technical data outside the United States, and prohibit access to export-controlled technical data, materials, or equipment to non-U.S. persons within the United States, known as a deemed export. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations impose sanctions and embargoes on transactions or exchanges with designated countries, entities and individuals.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)

  • Administered by the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) under the U.S. Department of State
  • Controls all items on the United States Munitions List (USML)
  • https://www.pmddtc.state.gov/ddtc_public

Export Administration Regulations (EAR)

  • Administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security under the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Controls commercial/dual-use items (not on another export control list, i.e. USML)
  • Controls items listed on the Commerce Control List (CCL)
  • https://www.bis.doc.gov

Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Regulations


For questions about export control laws and your research and/or technologies, the University of Kentucky Office of Sponsored Projects Administration export compliance official's contact information is listed below. 

John Craddock

About OSPA Export Control Compliance

The Export Control Compliance role within the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA) at the University of Kentucky was created to provide best practices advice and hands-on assistance to the University research community for compliance with the U.S. export control regulations. OSPA houses the Export Controls Compliance Officer who is responsible for assisting the University researchers that are affected by the export controls regulations and working with them to develop systems and procedures that comply with the regulations. 

The following specific services are offered through OSPA:

  • Identify and determine whether an export (including “deemed-export”) requires a license under the regulations;
  • Assess whether a license exception or available general license can be applied to the situation;
  • Work with investigators to understand the difference between Fundamental Research and export-controlled research:
  • Export control training
  • Complete and submit license applications to the relevant U.S. Government agency;
  • Assist with completion and submission of additional documentation required under a license application or other University of Kentucky research-related business items;
  • Advise on recordkeeping requirements;
  • Provide interpretation and application of the export controls regulations for grant and contract reviews;
  • Provide Restricted Party Screenings (RPS) tools and assistance;
  • Inform and guide on transactions involving embargoed and sanctioned countries;
  • Work collaboratively with other University offices, faculty and staff to construct appropriate procedures and safeguards related to export-controlled items, data and software

Export Control Laws and University Research

Most of the research at the University of Kentucky is considered fundamental research, where export laws do not apply. However, some items/technologies fall under the reach of these U.S. export control laws. Sponsored programs may have export restrictions on particular items, equipment, technology and data. Additionally, the research may have restrictions on the participation of foreign nationals and/or freedom to publish the results of the research. When this is the case, John Craddock from OSPA will assist those involved in the research with compliance with the federal regulations.

Fundamental Research Exclusion (15 CFR 734.8)

Fundamental research means research in science, engineering, or mathematics, the results of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the research community, and for which the researchers have not accepted restrictions for proprietary or national security reasons.

It is important to note that the Fundamental Research Exclusion applies it only applies to the dissemination of research data and information, not to the transmission of material goods.

Two primary factors can cause the loss of the Fundamental Research Exclusion:

  1. Publication restrictions in the research award/contract – if the language allows the sponsor to approve publications/disclosures, this prevents the research from being Fundamental Research.  This allows the sponsor the right to prevent public disclosure of the research.  However, allowing the sponsor to review the publication/disclosure for a reasonable amount of time (60-90 days), does not prevent the research from maintaining the FRE, so long as the review is to prevent intellectual property from being disclosed.

  2. Restrictions on participation of foreign nationals in the research award/contract – if language exists which requires approval of foreign nationals, then the work cannot fall under the FRE

If 1 and/or 2 are present, then the project cannot be designated as FR, and instead is considered Export Controlled Research.


Technology Control Plan (TCP)

When a research project does not qualify for the FRE, the research is considered an export-controlled research project.  A Technology Control Plan must be developed for each export-controlled project.  If an investigator has more than one EC project, then each one will need a dedicated TCP.  A TCP will include information such as (but not limited to): project title, period of performance, PI name, sponsor information, a list of the applicable clauses/language which prevent the FRE, etc. 

John Craddock will work with the investigators to develop a TCP which complies with the applicable regulations.

What this Means for UK Principal Investigators

During the proposal stage, key terms to look for in the FOA/RFP include export control, foreign national restrictions, and publication restrictions. This language is generally indicative that U.S. export control laws may apply to the proposed research. 

Once awarded, OSPA will work with the PI to properly determine if export control laws apply. If the research is export controlled, thus not fundamental research, OSPA will work with the PI to set up protocols to ensure compliance with U.S. export laws.